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Jonathan D. Hall
Ming Xue
Lingkun Ran
, and
Lance M. Leslie


A high-resolution nonhydrostatic numerical model, the Advanced Regional Prediction System (ARPS), was used to simulate Typhoon Morakot (2009) as it made landfall over Taiwan, producing record rainfall totals. In particular, the mesoscale structure of the typhoon was investigated, emphasizing its associated deep convection, the development of inner rainbands near the center, and the resultant intense rainfall over western Taiwan.

Simulations at 15- and 3-km grid spacing revealed that, following the decay of the initial inner eyewall, a new, much larger eyewall developed as the typhoon made landfall over Taiwan. Relatively large-amplitude wave structures developed in the outer eyewall and are identified as vortex Rossby waves (VRWs), based on the wave characteristics and their similarity to VRWs identified in previous studies.

Moderate to strong vertical shear over the typhoon system produced a persistent wavenumber-1 (WN1) asymmetric structure during the landfall period, with upward motion and deep convection in the downshear and downshear-left sides, consistent with earlier studies. This strong asymmetry masks the effects of WN1 VRWs. WN2 and WN3 VRWs apparently are associated with the development of deep convective bands in Morakot’s southwestern quadrant. This occurs as the waves move cyclonically into the downshear side of the cyclone. Although the typhoon track and topographic enhancement contribute most to the record-breaking rainfall totals, the location of the convective bands, and their interaction with the mountainous terrain of Taiwan, also affect the rainfall distribution. Quantitatively, the 3-km ARPS rainfall forecasts are superior to those obtained from coarser-resolution models.

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